Speaking today on al-Jazeera television, Afghan President Hamid Karzai dismissed the notion that he needed to be on good terms with the 113,000 NATO troops in his country, saying that they “have a common purpose” but he doesn’t need their favor.
“I don’t have to have their favour,” Karzai insisted, “they are here for a purpose, which is the stability and safety of Afghanistan.” Karzai said his goal was “to be legitimate and have the trust of the Afghan people.”
At the same time, Karzai insisted Afghanistan had ‘done well’ with its economy, one of the world’s poorest, and that it was a “good model of democracy,” careful not to mention the millions of fraudulent votes in his August reelection.
At the same time, US special envoy Richard Holbrooke insisted that President Karzai was not that important in the grand scheme of things for Afghanistan, saying that he “speaks excellent English” and is “charismatic,” but that the nation has not historically been centrally governed and that it was unrealistic to expect that Karzai would be able to do so.
The US has had something of a double-edged relationship with Karzai, who has earned their ire for his criticism of civilian deaths in NATO attacks. On the one hand the administration was thought to be looking to cut Karzai loose, but later they embraced him in the face of August’s fraudulent vote and praised him as the legitimate ruler of the nation.
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